Massey University puts out latest proposals on science shake-up for consultation

Massey University floats latest moves in science shake-up

New Zealand Herald science reporter Jamie Morton has updated his newspaper’s readers on the restructuring of science courses at Massey University, saying staff have been apprised of proposed changes that effectively create two new schools.

These schools would replace Massey’s schools of fundamental sciences and natural and computational sciences.

They would bring biological and physical sciences into one school and mathematical and computational sciences into the other.

In a document outlining the proposals, college pro-vice chancellor Professor Ray Geor said the changes marked “a shift in strategy away from campus dependence and towards a single college curriculum spanning locations”.

“An organisational structure that best supports research, teaching and the student experience is critical to the future development of our college and Massey University,” he said.

“It must also support improved operational efficiency in the context of our constrained financial environment.”

Except for current heads of school positions and some other activities, Professor Geor said current positions would remain either unchanged, or involve shifts in reporting lines or into the new schools.

“For most, the proposed realignment does not significantly change their current position or responsibilities,” a Massey spokesperson told the Herald in an emailed statement.

The proposals – now subject to consultation – come after Massey set out its finalised plans for its science portfolio in December.  Those plans aimed to slash course offerings by nearly half but affected only about 3% of previously enrolled students.

Massey’s senior leadership team put out its first discussion document early last year to signal changes.  An initial aim was to cut college staff costs by $11.7m a year.

Relations with Massey’s science academics since then “have often been fraught”, Jamie Morton reports.

When a “roadmap” was unveiled in October, Massey scientists feared the plans could spell the biggest cut to science academics in New Zealand’s history, with around 100 potential job losses.

More than 70 professors later made a direct appeal to the university’s chancellor.

A Massey spokesperson this week told Mr Morton the college was yet to determine future impact of the new structure to staffing numbers, but this was expected to be investigated “in due course”.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Heather Warren said the union would be working with members to provide feedback on the latest proposals.

 Source:  New Zealand Herald

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog